Old Chamber Bldg. Proposed For Earl Woody’s “4B Foundation (Big Brothers Building Believers)” Men’s Help Center
By Robert A. Naranjo
At a regularly scheduled City Council meeting held August 9, a small group of men submitted a proposal to the mayor and councilors that is in sync with a sudden flurry of meetings, proposals and funding to help break the tide of issues in northern New Mexico caused by addiction to alcohol and drugs which is causing a fracturing of the family unit and of the community itself.
It was a vision, an idea, a dream that Valley resident, Earl Woody, had to help men in the Espanola Valley and northern New Mexico. He felt that some men were being let down and in turn letting their own family down, and worse, letting themselves down. They had no place to go to try and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, causing them to lose hope and sometimes lose their lives due to a variety of reasons, including alcohol and drug abuse, family shake-up like a divorce or a death in the family, loss of a job, no job, nothing to look forward to, feeling they have let their families down, and the spiral downward begins.
Woody wanted to do something about it. There was no place for men to get help for any of life’s circumstances that causes a person to feel despair, like divorce or death, trying to kick a long-time habit of alcohol, opiate or and other illicit drug use, or, men just needing a sympathetic ear–allowing an unloading off the proverbial “shoulder,” whatever is troubling them, sometimes having nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Many times that’s all a man needs to right his own ship or at the very least, the hope of righting it. And he’ll get the help at the proposed 4B men’s help center at the old chamber of commerce building.
The Valley Daily Post spoke to the three men, Earl Woody, Juan Garcia and David Martinez outside City Hall after their presentation to the mayor and City Council about the “4B,” consisting of a group of men wanting to use the city-owned old Chamber of Commerce building on North Paseo de Onate, to help men with a variety of life’s issues, get back on their feet. A group usually with no place to go whatsoever.
City Attorney, Frank Coppler, (L), Councilor Robert Seeds, (R), listen to a proposal by Earl Woody on the "4B Foundation" use of the old Chamber of Commerce building for a men's help center. Coppler gave his legal blessing on the proposal and Seeds stated his full support for such a center. Photo by Robert A. Naranjo/valleydailypost.com
City attorney, Frank Coppler, gave his legal blessing on the proposal after a question posed by City Councilor Peggy Sue Martinez relating to the all men’s help center being discriminatory or disadvantageous to women.
Coppler answered Martinez’s question by saying that if the city would let the group use the old Chamber building for less than market value, then it would have to offer a women’s group the same deal or it would be against the anti-donation clause of the New Mexico Constitution. However, since the proposal with the 4B group has a cash and repair to the building and grounds provision which ultimately will total to over one thousand dollars a month rent for six months, then more cash and work in payment for another period, then ultimately, fair market value in cash payment without any work provision.
After Coppler’s legal opinion, Woody wanted to add Juan Garcia to the contract and Coppler said no problem, “It’s one more person to help to fulfill the contract,” he said. “I have no problem with that,” he said smiling.
The 4B proposal was not an action item Mayor Alice Lucero told the group, so final official action on the proposal was tabled until the next regularly scheduled City Council. According the city clerk’s office, contacted August 17, the contract between Earl Woody and Juan Garcia, dba 4B (Big Brothers Building Believers) and Mayor Alice Lucero and City Attorney, Frank Coppler, was signed before a notary public on August 12. City Council members will ratify the contract as an action item at their next meeting.
The 4 B men’s help center plan is to help men in the Valley is unprecedented in terms of laymen, and not a formal organization with funding, trying to help their fellow man in their community. They said that they have seen too much waste in all sense of the word and decided to do something about it.
The Valley Daily Post asked the 4B group outside City Hall if they’d like to elaborate on what they had presented to the Mayor and City Council with a little help from City Manager, Mark Trujillo, who sat with and introduced the group.
“Let’s start with Juan Garcia,” Woody suggested, once outside City Hall.
Juan Garcia started off by saying, “We want to reach out to these men and anybody that needs this help.”
Which men and which service, he was asked.
Woody answered that question. “Rehab, to detox, anything.”
“We want to be a stepping stone to these men,” Garcia added.
Woody continued, “Seeing a young man down and help him fill out an application, counseling, a man going through a divorce, needing someone to talk to.”
Garcia then added, “What it started off with was Earl’s vision of a bunch of men getting together to help men. Because we believe men should be the leaders of the home. ”
Woody added, “And if the man gets it together, it trickles down to the wife, children and the family. And when we’re in here, its not like we are exiling the women. We want to help the men. But we will get women to help women, too,” he said.
Then Woody became reflective. “Growing up here, and seeing what it was like then and what it’s like today. The men have let down the community. We see women walking with their children…”
David Martinez, who was part of the 4B group for the presentation to the City Council, chimed in.
“It’s hasn’t been only the men who have let down the community, a lot of the time, the community has let down the men. Because there has never been an opportunity and (proposed) places like the 4B,” he said. All nodded in agreement.
Martinez added, “We don’t want to offer a bunch of solutions, we want to have one solution, faith…”
Martinez said, “I remember when I was growing up in Chimayo, and “veteranos” (older drug users) would come up to my father and ask, ‘Can I pull your weeds, Mr. Martinez,’ and there would be no problems like today where they don’t want to work, they’d rather break in.”
Woody added, “That’s because there’s a lack of connection. If there’s a connection, then there’s usually no problem.”
Martinez then added a major point. “A lot of these drug addicts coming up are second generation. It’ not their fault a lot of the time.”
Then a final question was posed. “Do you think this drug use epidemic can really be fixed, can this thing really be stopped?
Woody answered with an anecdote where he brought home the point that, in general, most do not want to continue living an addict’s life and maybe the vicious circle of drug and alcohol can be curbed and maybe stopped.
“I believe it could,” Woody began. “I was at Lowe’s Home Center and I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen or heard from in six years.”
He continued, “And this guy said, ‘I heard about what you are doing. I can help. I know a little construction and I want to help.”
Woody ended by saying, “He heard about what we are we’re doing and he’s grabbing on to it.”
Grabbing onto a lifeline.